Around 19 million people in the UK are living below the poverty line, the benchmark set by the EU to help distinguish those in society who struggle to make ends meet every month.
Increasing fuel prices are forcing families to make the choice between paying the bills and eating or driving less miles. Due to the very nature of the problem, this isn’t about those driving for pleasure, rather for work, school and essentials. This is the difference between taking children to school or feeding them.
The ever increasing price
Drivers have mostly accepted that we pay high fuel prices, no one likes it, but for most people, we don’t have a choice. Of course, it would be remiss if we didn’t mention the nearing 80% tax, but that’s not what is at issue here.
In the hours that it has taken to research and write this article, the price per barrel of oil has jumped from $76.98 to $77.73 (currently), and that is the main problem in a nutshell; the rising cost of crude oil.
Defining the ‘why?’ is slightly more difficult. When Donald Trump announced that he was withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, the price of a barrel of oil soared by nearly two dollars – historically speaking, a dollar on a barrel equates to around 1 pence per litre at the pump for us. Equally, when the chemical weapon attack on Syria took place, the price of a barrel was $67.11, less than one week later, that had rocketed to $72.58.
Since early 2016, the average price of filling a family car has risen by £11.10 for unleaded and £12.50 for diesel. This extortionate price rise has lead to families having to cut back on spending and implement further measures to keep the car running and also make sure that the bills are paid.
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What does this mean for us?
A recent survey carried out by the AA states that 9% of the members polled would have to cut back on the family budget, 15% had decided to drive less, and a further 14% would have to do both, in total 38% of the members would have to adjust their driving/spending habit due to the increase in petrol prices.
In the last month alone, PetrolPrices data shows the mean price has risen from 123.8ppl to 127.6ppl for diesel and 121.2ppl to 124.8 for unleaded, adding around £1.50 to an average 50 litre tank of fuel in just four weeks; pump prices are the highest they’ve been since December 2014, and they look set to stay that way and there is the potential for even more increase.
Supermarkets are doing their best to absorb increases, but the reality is that places like Asda and Tesco are often at the limit of profit, relying on generating volume, and in turn building brand loyalty – fill up with groceries and fuel in one stop, but with prices increasing at such a rate, even they are upping the price at the pump. It typically takes around a fortnight for a rise in the crude oil price to affect pump price, so we may yet still see further increases happen.
What should you do now?
This isn’t a case of taxation or even profiteering, but simple cold facts: The base price of crude oil is rising due to an array of factors beyond anyone’s control, the best we can hope for is stability which could mean a slight reduction in prices.
If you find yourself having to make difficult choices, there are some things that can ease the pain, or stretch out the miles to a tank:
If you already have a PetrolPrices account then you can download the PetrolPrices app to keep you updated on the latest fuel prices while you’re on the road. It has all the filters you need to make sure you find the best fuel near you.
Ensure that your car is operating at peak performance. A 10% drop in tyre pressure can affect the efficiency of the tyre and rolling-resistance, leading to a decrease in MPG. Equally, a dirty air filter can have a dramatic effect on fuel usage – some experts claim that replacing a dirty air filter could improve your mileage by as much as 10%.
Look for supermarkets with a fuel discount voucher when you shop with them – this could be as high as 10 pence per litre – £5 per fill up. While not all supermarkets run these all the time, occasionally the members of reward schemes such as Morrisons More and Nectar cards receive discounts without any announcements.
Lastly, think about your driving style and habits – hard acceleration not only reduces MPG, but it will also increase tyre wear, ‘making progress’ will reduce drivetrain efficiency over time, which already accounts for between 13 – 19% of engine power. Smooth and gentle driving is the key, even if you don’t feel like it!
For some people, public transport may be an alternative but the high prices and sometimes slower journey time prove less effective than taking the car. The story recently of a man who got to London from Bristol for cheaper by car than by a train ticket proved one thing, sometimes a car is more cost effective.
How has the price increase affected you? Do you now need to consider your budget or miles you drive? Can you think of a viable alternative form of transport? Do you think that the Government should consider introducing a temporary tax break on fuel duty?
The Government could do so much to alkeviate the current difficulty, but naturally will choose to ignore it. For them, it generates more income of course. More rise in fuel more VAT. It is about time the Government considerably dropped the VAT on fuel. This really has got to the stage of ‘Legalised Theft’ from the UK drivers. A point worth stating also. Companies and MPs can claim VAT back and their fuel! Once again the poor, yes I mean poor working man / woman in the street cannot do so. It is once again they who already get taxed on wages, tax on Vehicle Duty, then added on top VAT. Little wonder most people loose absolute faith in MPs and my fear is if the Government continues to kick people even when down the Electorate will turn against them and democracy…..then all hell breaks out. The warning signs are being displayed already sadly. Yes, reduce duty by 10p a litre, and assist the disabled who need their vehicles to go and meet family and friends. Public transport and trains are too expensive. Train fares currently from Wales to London are extortionate. A car can cost 60 to 70% less and take the driver door to door. Lastly, I hope a few MPs take note of my last observation! A recent fare quoted for a day return from Swansea to Paddington cost more than a flight and hotel for 5 days to Gran Canaria, even Malta? Is not that extortion. Government should immediately intervene and stop this racket. Why should a BP / Esso garage 100 yards away from a Supermarket charge 10p more for a litre of petrol. Ask the public they will confirm these findings. But there again The Only Government Department that LISTENS is GCHQ!
I think you may find that the cash economy is growing rapidly because of the tax rises and poor wage increases. Let’s all become taxi drivers, painters and decorators!
Regarding public transport though……………why should non users subsidise it? All it does is make them poorer!
Another thing mentioned………yes, it’s cheaper to go from A to B in a car in many cases but you have buy it, tax it, put fuel in it, have insurance and service it, not as cheap as you may think and this is discounting the devaluation factor!
Don’t forget parking charges……….some are horrendous
excellent statements I agree completely with everything you have wrote
and yet there are more dollars to the £ than last year ?
Isn’t a case of taxation? Rubbish! as mentioned 80% is tax! So that mathematically makes it 80% a case of taxation. Fact! The motorist is being ripped off as always.
Funny how the dollar a barrel equating to a penny a litre at the pumps only ever seems to apply to increases not decreases!
So the EU in their wisdom say that 19 million in this country are living in poverty, but the calculation for the ‘poverty line’ is not actually based on looking at a family’s living conditions but some arbitrary average income. Perhaps if these supposedly poor people optimised their expenditure and cut out a few non essentials, smart phones for every family member etc, then things would be a lot different.
As a pensioner I’m below this poverty line but by spending my money on the right things I have a comfortable life and tuhs I don’t consider myself poor by any standards.
You are funny.
Unlike you, we have to keep communications with others and have an easy way to search the web in our pockets.
If you don’t have a smartphone than your likely to be…. retired as you do not participate in the normal activities the rest of us do in the 21st century.
That said yes £1000+ for an iPhone 10 is stupid but we all don’t have that we have an average price phone in our pocket £400 to £600.
If you don’t have that in your pocket than you have one leg in the grave and the other your working to swing into the grave…guessing that’s where you are.
As a middle-aged person, I have 40 to 60 years left before any leg is heading to the grave.
So back to my point. When it costs just 16p a litre in Saudi as they produce the black gold it is understandable. Now factor in transport and profit. How did we get to such a high price at the petrol pumps?
That is the question you need to ask yourself….not who has a communication device in the pocket but who is ripping us off. I suggest you look to the oil cartels and the bankers that keep prices high.
Please think before disparaging the rest of us that are participating and living in the 21st century.
Such arrogance and condescension! Your life style could be as easily dismissed as those lifestyles you dismiss.
Participating in the 21st century? Labelling the possession of a posh phone as somehow showing you are ‘on trend’ is as fallacious as the post you mocked. It usually signifies an unwillingness or inability to communicate on a human level (ie conversation).
Average phone at £400-£600 ??? You can get great phones that do everything (full Hd screen, quad core, dual sim, sd slot etc etc) For about £140. Dad does not need to pay £400 for each of his kids and will have his fuel paid fo the whole year with that saving alone.
It isn’t the EU who decides where the poverty line is, but think tanks such as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation or action groups like the Child Poverty Action Group etc. and it is really an indicator of inequality of income between different groups of people in the UK.
Whilst you may not consider yourself poor, those who have access to the full data and impacts of inequality in this country are in a better position to make those judgements on that wider scale than you are.
I think having a pop at the EU and then branding everyone as spending money on things you consider not to be essential weaken your argument. Maybe you are looking at the position of others with some bias. It is too easy to throw blame at people and this is exacerbated by over-hyped television programmes such as Benefits Britain or reading some of the lurid output of some of the press who seek to sell more copy and gain political control by stirring up division and mistrust between the citizens of the UK.
So how much is your rent/mortgage? and have you noticed many can’t get a mortgage, and have you seen the price of rent, you know where the jobs are? I Suggest you get your head out of your backside, and take a look around. P.S you can’t buy a house for £6000.
It’s about time something was sorted with the company’s charging so much the government could sort the price rises out but there don’t there just money grabbing all the time and making it very dificult for family’s to manage . I thought the government was supposed to do
The best for us!!!!
I also believe the 80% tax element only magnifies the price variation of crude oil.
I have a lot of sympathy for petrol station since their margines on fuel is pathetic ( 2~5%) and they rely on people using their other services to keep them going.
Having said that I don’t understand is when crude prices come down, the prices don’t drop as quickly!
ON the subject of taxes, I am firm advocate of scrapping RFL and adding the cost to fuel directly while keeping the MOT system going: so the more you use & wear out the road, the more polution you create, the more you pay at the fuel pump. We did it with water meters so whats the hold up??
One thing about the tax that is not understood by most people is that VAT is added to the price of fuel INCLUDING FUEL DUTY so you ar paying tax on another tax.
If and when we leave the EU we could scrap VAT and return to Purchase tax which is much cheaper to administer.
A point not mentioned in the driving tips above is the stop the engine when not moving. At one traffic light in Bristol traffic can be stopped for over 2 minutes yet drivers keep their engines running. Try this. Stop the car in first gear. Do not use the handbrake (unless you are on a slope.) when the lights turn to amber depress the clutch and start the engine .declutch. You can pull away quicker this way and save more fuel than you might think.
The point about dropping VED is made by the Centre Party www. uk-centre-party.uk
Whilst we appreciate that the price of crude affects the pump I think the government have seen an opportunity to extort more money from the motorist, the so called green lobby have been instrumental also with the resultant banning of if engine cars. Get rid of diesel put fuel and road tax up, a nice little earner !
“Around 19 million people in the UK are living below the poverty line..”
That is because the poverty line is set so high, I am poor as I only have one car and one house and can only afford two holidays a year.
There are no real poor people in the UK, go to India etc and see real poverty.
Still it is good measure of how great it is to live in the UK , our largest concern it seems is petrol has gone up by a few pence.
Relative poverty is the correct phrase and is a good indicator of inequality in the UK (not belittling the relative poverty of those in developing nations compared to Western nations of course)
I have a disabled wife and for us, due to her disability she is unable to use public transport even though travelling in London by bus or train is free, a car is therefor a vital necessity to get to many clinic and hospital appointments. As pensioners every price hike in the cost of fuel means pleasure driving has declined to almost zero.
In view of Dave’s comment about phones I would mention that my own is a 20 year old Nokia 6310-a veritable by modern standards. We barely keep living and do not spend lavishly so good luck to to you Dave for being able to live comfortably.
Get a bike. You get fitter and save loads.
or walk more
I truly believe that ANY government has a tough job “balancing the books” but, boy, don’t they get paid for it. It’s a shame that they couldn’t agree to a wage freeze for a couple of years and put the “savings” towards other services, or petrol prices, or stop taking 80% in tax from petrol and use their savings on their salaries to get more of the “no tax, no licence, no insurance” offenders off the roads and paying substantial fines.
The Tax has to come down and politicians must take responsibility and serve the people !
20-30 years ago Petrol/diesel was sitting at approximately $130+ and we were not paying today’s prices at the pumps so why are we paying more now for a cheaper price per barrel
Don’t get me started… time has come for a blockade of roads with all trucks taking part, my local bp now £1.37 bloody ripoff lower the tax , money grapping government
I suppose I will have to find alternatives to cut the need to use the car – more phone, bus train etc
We live in Spain and pay 1.15 euros per litre (about 1 pound per litre) which is far better than the UK with it’s crazy taxation. In addition superb motorways allow you to drive at 70mph for miles on end which reduces fuel use. Due to return to the UK in June for 3 months to escape Spanish summer heat – shame it’s going to cost a fortune to live in the UK.
I think it is the united kingdom’s membership of E u fees that has paid for all those superb Spanish motorways !
That would be the Autopistas which are toll motorways, so the users of said roads fund it.
It always amazes me where countries like Spain get the money for suberb transport systems. I am sure it EU funding that England helped to fund. Perhaps soon we will get our money back to improve our pot holed roads
What makes this even more ridiculous for the motorist / tax payer is that when the price of oil fell massively the petrol / diesel prices didn’t fall by the same ratio. Oil prices crashed but fuel costs didn’t. Now oil price is on the rise…we are getting ripped off bug time. If I remember correctly oil is currently no where near the cost it was pre-crash but fuel us already higher at the pump……. so something doesn’t add up.
Petrol at my garage has gone up three times in the last 9 days.
Many motorists would save money by selling their car and using taxis to travel everywhere instead FACT
You hear people moaning/complaining about fuel price rises, myself included So why not do something about it !!! fuel blockades!! It worked last time, Its about time the greedy goverment had a kick up the …. and started to listen to people Were sick of being ripped off, Easy targets the motorists….
Although fuel duty is high, in reality it’s the same Europe wide. Duty hasn’t increased since the Tories got back into Government back in 2010. It’s the oil companies who are ripping us all off, BP and Exxon have recently announced all time record profits.
Put a halt to foreign aid. Lower the tax on fuel….surely a starting point !!
At the moment the price of fuel is rising on a daily basis, indeed one BP forecourt near me, recently increased its prices TWICE in one day.
Back in 2010, oil was priced at around $130 a barrel, and fuel around £1.30 a litre. Given that fuel duty hasn’t increased since then, fuel is currently around the same price it was in 2010, although the oil price, despite recent increases is still under $80 per barrel.
Oil companies, BP and Exxon, have recently announced an all time increase in their profits, and my view is that it is they, and they alone are responsible for the prices we are being forced to pay. Perhaps it’s time to start boycotting certain companies, I for one, would never, ever buy fuel from a BP site, they are consistently the ones to have the highest prices, and are almost always the first to raise prices at the pump.
Yet more pain being heaped upon drivers, especially we who high performance cars.
My mechanic has told me not to use supermarket fuel as it’s not technically advanced as branded fuel; I ‘m now stuck between a rock and a hard place it is now time for the government to reduce the tax on fuel to ease some of the pressure on peoples budgets as wages aren’t rising in any significant way!.
Because the crude oil as gone up we have to pay the extra at pumps but its not just 1p a litre that’s gone up its as much as 6p per litre in some places, and don’t get me started on motorway pumps over £1.50 per litre, but how often does the price go down when crude oil goes down ? Its about time the government stepped in and lower this so call tax on diesel/petrol prices, its not fair to motorists. Those in government don’t care they get all their petrol/Diesel on expenses.
Why is the press not campaigning to reduce the road tax. This government prides itself on being in favour of low tax. So get on with your day job.
PRICES ARE NOT HIGH ENOUGH!!!
Needs to be so high that we are forced into public transport or electric cars for the sake of the environment as a matter of urgency. needs to be worldwide and now .
I hope this is a joke! Where do I get £25000 for a new car? Sell my house and buy a motorhome? Now there’s a thought – we could all become nomads and park our motorhomes, with us inside, in the houses of parliament. When they confiscate them we can become criminals and fill the prisons – A silly thought of course, but are we going to tolerate this for ever?
In the ideal world we’d all be driving EV’S, hybrids or all using public transport, but in the real world it’s different, poor or working class people don’t have the option of buying an electric car,fuel costs are going up, and usually drive older cars that cost more to tax, fill up,but don’t do as much mileage either, yet those who are more well off , get cars that are ironically cheaper to tax,fuel ,but more expensive, so poor people cannot buy? Basically poorer people will be priced of the roads, and public transport infrastructure cannot/won’t take up the slack if majority of them lost /gave up their cars?
Government should consider a temporary tax break on fuel duty. We cannot stretch our budgets anymore especially NHS staff, no pay rise for 7 years. We are all stretched as far as we can go money wise each month. We are going end up losing our homes soon. Petrol prices are getting ridiculous we all need to get to work.
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